In the early 1900s, at the request of the province of Nova Scotia, Dr. Frederick Sexton laid the plans for the current system and roles of "associated universities" in engineering education in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. He also founded the Nova Scotia Technical College (NSTC), where students pursued their senior engineering and graduate years - typically the last 2-3 years of undergraduate engineering, after doing the initial two years at one of the associated universities. Dr. Sexton served as the first principal, and later president, of NSTC from 1907 to 1947.
Circa 1980, NSTC became the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS). The provincial government forced TUNS to amalgamate with Dalhousie University in April 1997. For several years the former TUNS faculties formed a college called Dalhousie University Polytechnic (nicknamed DalTech) but in 2001 the college structure was dissolved and the faculties simply became part of Dalhousie University.
Today, the TUNS campus is known as the Sexton Campus of Dalhousie University. It includes the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Architecture and Planning. The TUNS School of Computer Science was merged with Dalhousie's after the 1997 amalgamation to become the Faculty of Computer Science. Computer Science moved into a new building on the Studley Campus in 1999.
In addition to the Sexton Campus, there are two buildings and a prestigious scholarship named after Dr. Sexton.
Currently the associated universities program is being reviewed. Mount Allison University has already removed itself from the program (as of 1998) and Dalhousie would like to standardize the engineering program for all 4-5 years of the undergraduate degree at its Sexton Campus, similar to the way in which engineering is being offered at the University of New Brunswick and Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as others across Canada.